What Does It Mean To Abhor Evil?

abhor evil?

In my Bible study a couple of days ago, I ran across a verse of Scripture that said to abhor evil that just seemed to stick with me. I couldn’t help but wonder about it, even though we’ve all probably heard it at least a million times. At least those of us who aren’t strangers to church, that is. Still, even if you’re not an avid church goer, you’ve probably heard it a time or two yourself.

That Scripture was Romans 12:9.

  • “…Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”

Abhor Evil: Obvious and Defined

A couple of things really pressed on my mind about this, the first being the word “abhor”. It quite literally means to hate or detest, in this case, those things that are evil.

So the next thing I wondered about is what this instance of “evil” actually meant. Of course we hate what is evil. Things like abortion, murder, robbery, and all the things that come to mind when you hear that word. But what, I wondered, was Paul talking about exactly.

I looked it up in Strong’s Concordance and found that the Greek word, poneros, is a combination of a couple different words, one meaning “hurtful”. Other words mentioned included degeneracy, calamitous, morally diseased, derelict, mischievous, malicious, lewd and grievous.

We are to abhor these things.

Of course, we can trace all these things back to “evil”. I think it’s something everyone understands. And it’s been one of the reasons, without even realizing the root myself, that I “abhor” so many things that seem perfectly excusable to others.

Evil Becomes Normal

In our society, what a Christian would consider “evil” is very different from what the world views as evil. I think it’s one of the reasons that Christians tend to keep their mouth shut on important issues and just kind of fade away into the background.

I could make a list of what those things are, but I think we all know. It’s the same things that make unbelievers call us things like “holier than thou”, “judgmental”, “self-righteous” and “holy-rollers”. Not that I mind the names. Jesus said they hated Him, so they would hate us as well. It wasn’t a surprise to Him, and it shouldn’t be to us, in this world we live in.

To me, it’s just all the more reason to pray, fast and never give up our witness!

Some Things I Detest

Since wholly devoting myself to God, I have come to lose interest in a great many things that might otherwise seem mundane. Television, for instance, isn’t something I have sat down in front of for years. Other than a stray moment here or there to check out the weather or maybe something like that, I just simply don’t watch it.

To me, it’s time wasted on worldly affairs, especially if watching a “fictional” program. In the past, I have complained far too many times that I simply didn’t have the time to read my Bible, study, or pray. Well, if I spend the time I use to spend watching just one program, I’m far ahead of where I use to be!

Music is another avenue I think the enemy uses to steal us away from God. For one thing, today’s music – no matter the genre – is just detestable. But the main reason music can be such a quick and painless defeat is that it’s so easy to memorize the words. Have you paid attention to lyrics lately?

Proverbs 18:21 plainly states that death and life are in the power of the tongue while Jesus said, in Matthew 12:34 and Luke 6:45 that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. And that’s just three instances that pertain to this particular thing.

The Journey of a Thousand Miles…

They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step. And it certainly did for me! As I have mentioned before, I came to the saving grace of Jesus Christ at the age of 18, but I didn’t turn over my entire life to Him for long. It took a long time, and a million painful turns and detours, to finally find the Truth. And now that I’ve found it, I cannot imagine my life without it, and often mourn for the days, weeks, months and years that I WASTED on all that was NOT Truth.

For me, that Truth incorporates a lot of things I never thought it would. A lot of things that aren’t popular lines of thought in this day and age. However, they are things that are backed up by Scripture and not easy to every be allowed by a good conscious once that truth is fully uncovered. Things like…

  • Cursing and hateful talk (Ephesians 5:4)
  • Filthy language or coarse joking (Ephesians 4:29)
  • Immodest ways of dressing (1 Timothy 2:9)
  • Letting a day pass without reading the Word (Acts 5:42, Acts 17:11)
  • Letting a day pass without praying in earnest (Luke 11:3)
  • Letting a day pass without praising and worshiping with a thankful heart (Psalm 72:15)
  • Being selfish (Philippians 2:3, 1 Corinthians 10:24, James 3:16)
  • Tearing down someone else, even if you have “good reasons” (Mark 12:31, 1 Corinthians 13)
  • Taking matters into my own hands instead of leaving it in God’s more-than-capable Hands (Ephesians 3:20, 2 Corinthians 9:8)

It Has To Start Somewhere

There are many times throughout the Bible where entire nations turn back to God. But the fact is, it has to start somewhere. If there had been ONE righteous person in Sodom or Gomorrah, for example, God would have spared those cities. Of course, God is no longer in the business of destroying whole cities, or even people, for that matter.

No, instead, humanity is left to wallow in the aftermath of their own decisions. It creates great strife, but WE are the Church, the Body and if change is going to come, there is going to have to be a remnant to stand for Truth. It may not be popular, and it may not win friends and influence a great many people. But I’ll choose this road any day!

Share Your Thoughts!

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